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Effects of antidepressants on postpartum weight loss?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

I know this is the shallowest question, but it concerns me a great deal.  I'm normally a skinny gal, and I've gained an uncomfortable amount of weight thus far this pregnancy.  With my first, I was able to lose all of it by about 6 months postpartum.  I also had (I think) PPD during the first year of my son's life.  I was pretty darn miserable, although I wonder still how much of it was situational, and how much was actual PPD.  I can't go back and know, but with this next LO on the way, if I'm still feeling so depressed by about 8 weeks postpartum, I'd like to seek medical help, rather than walking around for a whole year being severely depressed.


I guess my question is, how badly do anti-depressants affect your ability to lose weight postpartum?  Will I likely be committing to keeping all of my pregnancy weight if I choose to take anti-depressants?  It seems like a lot of people experience weight problems with Zoloft.  Is it the same with Paxil?  Or would Paxil potentially allow me still lose weight normally?


I know, I know, it's absolutely ridiculous.  But it's a curiosity.  I know that I would be absolutely crushed to remain bigger, or to try hard to lose the weight only to not have it come off because of medication.  As much as I hated being depressed, I also cry on a daily basis every time I look in the mirror right now, and I really want to return to my normal appearance.


If anyone can weigh in with their experiences, that would be tremendously helpful.  I'd like to know my options now so that if I feel like I need it, I can get on meds quickly without wasting precious time this go round.

post #2 of 4

Losing weight on SSRI's is not easy but possible. From what I know Zoloft is actually less likely to cause weight gain than Paxil or Prozac or any of the others. There are even people who lose weight on Zoloft. When I took Zoloft PP, my weight remained almost stable for the entire year. I lost a total of 10 pounds in the first 12 months of my son's life. However, I did not try very hard, and I was not very disciplined when it came to exercise or portion control. More importantly, I should also add that I started taking Zoloft 2 weeks PP, which means there was little time to start PP-weight loss. Once I was off the Zoloft, weight loss became easier and I lost another 15 pounds in the months before I became pregnant again. And while I've been gaining weight in this pregnancy, I've also been moderately active.


I am considering going on Zoloft preventively following the birth of DS2, but I am hoping that by continuing to exercise, chasing around a toddler, and keeping an eye on my food intake, I will be more successful losing weight than the last time. 


Something else to consider: if you are planning to breastfeed, you will not be able to take _any_ AD because some of them do actually secret into the breastmilk. 



post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

I was under the impression that Zoloft and Paxil were considered safe for breastfeeding mothers?  If that's not the case, then the possibility of taking them is a non-issue.  Breastfeeding is absolutely non-negotiable for our family.


During my first pregnancy, I gained about 45 pounds in addition to what my son weighed.  After my son was born, I lost about 40 pounds of that in the first 6 months of his life.  Those pounds were easy...  I didn't change my diet at all (in fact, I was almost always ravenously eating to keep up with DS's nursing), I just walked a lot with DS in the Ergo, and they peeled right off.  The last 5 lbs had to actually work at, but never had to watch my diet...  I switched to running a few times a week, and that came off pretty easily too.


It sounds like losing that amount of weight would be next to impossible on an anti-depressant?  If it's going to be choosing between "happiness" and being comfortable in my own skin, then I'd like to start weighing that decision now before the sleep deprivation and sadness starts up.

post #4 of 4

Zoloft and Paxil are safe for breast-feeding mothers: Link to kellymom. I primarily brought it up because there are ADs which make weight loss easier, such as Bupropion, but that are not good choices for breast-feeding.


If you had such an easy time losing weight with DS1 then it may be possible even if you're taking Zoloft. If not, you may have to add exercise or cut calories to help the weight loss along, and I'd be prepared for it to take longer.


Also, while it is good to consider these issues now, you can always change your mind later when you feel you need it. Since you got over PPD the last time without any meds, you may be able to do it again. You may also not experience PPD, and you can consider trying alternative treatments and supplements first as well. 

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